Coq au Vin Blanc

  Coq au Vin Blanc  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Coq au Vin Blanc | Image: Laura Messersmith

I’m always interested in a great glass of wine and I love recipes that incorporate it as an ingredient. I made the traditional version of Coq au Vin for the first time last winter to rave reviews from Mike and now that the weather is freeeezing (25 today in New York, yikes!) I was toying with the idea of making it again. Then, serendipitously, as I was scanning through my Pinterest board this gorgeous picture reminded me of Nigel Slater’s Coq au Riesling. Genius!

I loved the flavor of the original dish with red wine, but burgundy or cabernet can sometimes be a little overpowering and I was really intrigued by the idea of using white instead. The recipe calls for riesling (surprised?) which I’m sure is delicious, but I prefer dry white wine, specifically, sauvignon blanc. And, since I was already thinking about ways to use more subtle flavors I also decided not to use bacon and honestly, I didn’t miss it. I can hear gasps of horror from across the land, but trust me on this it works!

The first 30 minutes of the recipe are a little prep intensive, but then the entire pot goes in the oven and requires ZERO tending until it’s time for dinner. In my book this is the perfect amount of effort. Extra bonus: Something about the wine in this low-stress dish makes it feel special enough for guests, so file it away for your next dinner party.

  Coq au Vin Blanc   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Coq au Vin Blanc | Image: Laura Messersmith

Coq au Vin Blanc (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 (3 lb.) whole chicken, on the bone in pieces
1/2 cup (1 large) diced shallots
3/4 cup (1 medium) diced yellow onion
1 1/2 teaspoons (2-3 cloves) minced garlic
1/2 cup (2 stalks) diced celery
3 cups (3 large) diced carrots
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons minced thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat three tablespoons olive oil in a large French oven over medium-high heat. Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both the skin and the underside of each piece with kosher salt and black pepper. Starting skin side down brown the chicken pieces in batches, about 3-4 minutes per side. Resist the urge to crowd the pan! Remove the browned chicken to a plate with tongs and set aside.

While the chicken browns, prep the vegetables. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and slice the caps about 1/8 inch thick. Dice the shallot, yellow onions, and celery into 1/4 inch pieces. Next, peel and dice the carrots into 1/2 inch pieces, and mince the garlic cloves.

Once the chicken is finished browning, reduce the heat to medium. If the pan is a little dry, add another teaspoon or two of olive oil. Sauté the sliced mushrooms in the olive oil until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Next, add the diced shallots, yellow onions, celery and carrots to the pan. Sauté until the shallots and onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté one minute more. Return the mushrooms to the pan.

Sprinkle the entire mixture with 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables with the flour and seasonings and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flour absorbs the pan juices.

Add the bay leaf, minced thyme, chicken broth, and dry white wine to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the chicken broth and wine up to a low simmer before replacing the pieces of chicken in the pot.

Use the tongs to nestle them, skin side up, into the broth and vegetable mixture. Pour any collected juices from the plate into the pot and cover. Braise at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until the chicken is tender. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot.

  Coq au Vin Blanc   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Coq au Vin Blanc | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, it is! I used a 5 qt. French oven, medium cutting board, chef’s knife, vegetable peeler, wooden spoon, and tongs. I also needed dry and liquid measuring cups, spoons, a large plate, and paper towels.

The Verdict:
This version of Coq au Vin Blanc is pretty darn awesome – the dry white wine, mushrooms, and vegetables compliment the chicken beautifully. Mike said he would happily eat this anytime I want to make it. The sauce manages to be rich without being heavy and I’d definitely serve this with crusty bread, or mashed potatoes so none of it goes to waste.

  Coq au Vin Blanc   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Coq au Vin Blanc | Image: Laura Messersmith